Serial 'dine and dasher' on the loose in eastern Iowa, restaurants say
Some servers in eastern Iowa are fed up with an alleged serial dine and dasher.
Cedar Rapids Police tell TV-9 Tracy Haas is a suspect in a dine and dash that happened at Vernon's Bar and Grill last week, and TV9 has discovered court records showing the suspect has been doing this for years, all across the state.
The owner of Fieldhouse First Avenue, Carrie Kraklio in Cedar Rapids recently took a picture of Tracy Haas after he allegedly dined and dashed there, last week. The owner shared the photo on Facebook. Then, employees at other restaurants spotted it and said Haas had dined and dashed on them as well.
Kraklio put up a poster at her restaurant informing servers not to serve Haas if he comes in again. She says Haas skipped out on the bill there twice, most recently last week.
"He said he was gonna have a cigarette, then he took off running towards Osaka,” Kraklio said. “So I followed him, he came out, I asked for payment, he didn't have it, and then I took his picture."
Shortly after Kraklio shared her pictire online, a Facebook page with Haas' name commented on the thread saying "Catch me if you can."
"I hope every time he walks into a place they ask him for cash up front, and he never gets a free meal again,” said Kraklio
Workers at Vernon Bar and Grill reported Haas to police after seeing the post. They say he dined and dashed last week with the same strategy as Fieldhouse.
Employees said Haas was polite which prompted servers to let their guard down. Haas is said to have told staff he was meeting a friend who would take care of the bill for him. Employees say he then stepped outside for a cigratte and never came back.
"He came in, he looked normal, he sat down and he was really nice,” said Vernon Bar and Grill employee Brandi Bailey. “Then he started just telling me just random things, asking me about different restaurants and how to get there, and I thought he was just seriously just looking for places to eat.”
TV9 checked Haas' criminal record and found he has done this for years. His most recent convictions came in 2016 in Cedar Falls. Haas is said to have dined and dashed at Applebee’s and The Other Place. The year before, he was caught at Papa Juan’s in Cedar Rapids. Those are just three of 15 theft charges on his record.
Kraklio says servers sometimes have to front the bill when a customer walks out without paying.
"You're not hurting a corporation. You're not hurting someone in Florida that lives in a 1.5 million dollar house,” she explained. “You’re hurting a $4.35 an hour, $5.00 server/bartender that's trying to make money for that shift that day."
TV9 messaged several Facebook pages under the name "Tracy Haas." We have yet to get a response. The phone number listed for Haas is disconnected.
Officer Tom Daubs with the Marion Police Department tells TV9 dining and dashing is typically a misdemeanor offense, but someone doing it multiple times could face jail time. Daubs urged people not to chase after the person. Instead he suggested writing down the suspect's license plate and calling police to file a report.